PASSIONATE ABOUT SCHOOL LIBRARIES

Category: Non-Fiction (Page 1 of 4)

Book Review: 33 Ways Not To Screw Up Your Business Emails

 

33 Ways Not To Screw Up Your Business Emails

– Anne Janzer –

Networlding Publishing

Published 15 September 2021

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Each day we send and receives tens, if not hundreds, of emails. It’s how we conduct business, if not pleasure as well. But while this is part of our everyday, it’s not a taught skill and something that can go wrong pretty quickly.

As someone who’s been told that my emails sometimes hit the wrong tone (whoops!), this title caught my eye. I’ve also been sending emails to staff and students recently to try and increase use of the school library and our services but for the many recipients, I’ve not been getting many responses. I was hoping this book could give me some pointers.

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Book Review: Brand Yourself

 

Brand Yourself: A no-nonsense brand toolkit for small businesses

Lucy Werner and Hadrien Chatelet

Practical Inspiration Publishing

Published 7 September 2021

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I love learning about marketing and branding. And we all know that the best way to learn something is to read a book about it. Brand Yourself is easy to read and approachable and I have finished feeling I have a strong brand outline and clear steps I can take to make my brand stronger.

I always read branding and marketing books through two lenses – my own personal perspective as well as the branding of my school library. Brand Yourself is obviously targeted for business models, but each of the steps it takes readers through to identify a brand, would work perfectly for a library or service.

Brand Yourself is based on the work behind Wern and a quick check of their website and social media feeds shows they practice what they preach. It’s also a good example of what they are trying to show readers.

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Book Review: Marketing Strategy

Marketing Strategy: Overcome Common Pitfalls and Create Effective Marketing – Jenna Tiffany – Kogan Page – Published 25 May 2021

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Synopsis

Tasked with creating marketing strategy? This book is for you. Learn about the most useful tools and models, dodge common mistakes, and optimize your marketing strategy success, with this practical and adaptable framework from award-winning thought-leader Jenna Tiffany.

Create an effective marketing strategy for your business with Marketing Strategy, which offers a clear, easy-to-follow overview of why strategy is important, how to create it, how to implement it, and – crucially – how to measure its success. Packed with global examples and case studies, the book opens by discussing the role strategy plays in any organization’s long-term vision. It also discusses the key models and frameworks that can be used to analyze the marketing environment, and offers information on segmentation, targeting and positioning. Importantly, it will outline some of the key challenges likely to crop up, and gives pre-emptive tools for avoiding them.

My thoughts

If you are launching a new business, product line or marketing strategy, then this book is for you. Marketing Strategy: Overcome Common Pitfalls and Create Effective Marketing is a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know to market your product and business.

The book first outlines the important of strategy and the downfall of many a marketing tactic that fails to consider strategy. The author then outlines 8 important aspects and steps in your marketing strategy, using strategy as an acronym. These 8 key parts of creating a marketing strategy then form the next 8 chapters. These are scenario, target, reach, awareness, tactics, execute, generate and yield.

Marketing Strategy is a practical book and each chapter walks you through the steps you need to take to create your strategy. Each chapter has activities, worked examples and blank templates for you to complete, so that by the end of the book you have a complete strategy and approach to your marketing. Throughout, there are many references to examples from business, interviews with experts and research to support the author’s points.

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Book Review: Do What Matters Most

Do What Matters Most: Lead with a Vision, Manage with a Plan, Prioritize Your Time – Rob Shallenberger, Steve Shallenberger – Berrett-Koehler Publishers – Published 18 May 2021

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Synopsis

In researching more than 1,260 managers and executives from more than 108 different organizations, Steve and Rob Shallenberger discovered that 68 percent of them feel like their number one challenge is time management, yet 80 percent don’t have a clear process for how to prioritize their time.

Drawing on their forty years of leadership research, this book offers three powerful habits that the top 10 percent of leaders use to Do What Matters Most. These three high performance habits are developing a written personal vision, identifying and setting Roles and Goals, and consistently doing Pre-week Planning. And Steve and Rob make an audacious promise: these three habits can increase anyone’s productivity by at least 30 to 50 percent. For organizations, this means higher profits, happier employees, and increased innovation. For individuals, it means you’ll find hours in your week that you didn’t know were there–imagine what you could do!

You will learn how acquiring this skillset turned an average employee into her company’s top producer, enabled a senior vice president to reignite his team and achieve record results, transformed a stressed-out manager’s work and home life, helped a CEO who felt like he’d lost his edge regain his fire and passion, and much more. By implementing these simple and easy-to-understand habits, supported by tools like the Personal Productivity Assessment, you will learn how to lead a life by design, not by default. You’ll feel the power that comes with a sense of control, direction, and purpose.

My thoughts

Do What Matters Most has got to be the most helpful leadership, time management and professional improvement book I have read in a long time. Maybe ever. It is full of practical advice that is easy to use and adapt to your professional and personal. Often I finish a professional book and I have a list of all the things I’m going to do to improve my working practice and then I never actually enact anything. After reading Do What Matters Most I am left feeling in control, with a definite plan. I am completely aware of how I will use the tips and skills in this book but even more than that I am also far more aligned with what I need to do in my daily work practice to reach my professional and personal goals. This book has given me the power to enact change. I love it and highly recommend this book.

So many times I have thought that I needed to write down my goals. I had a vague idea in my head of where I was going, but I’d never put it into words. Similarly, there have been many times in my day that I felt I could have achieved more or I haven’t done the important things, instead just getting through a million small emergency fires. Do What Matters Most is all about changing that reactive behaviour into a proactive attitude.

I’d say half of the content in this book is providing evidence that their approach works. For someone who was already on board, I did feel like I could have skipped some of these sections. They are consistently spread throughout the book. For example, you have a chapter on why writing down a vision works before you move into a chapter about actually writing a vision statement. For me, the gold was in the doing chapters. While the evidence is great and the quotes from professionals from all walks of life shows that these practices work, it was more than I needed.

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Book Review: Three Quick Non Fiction Reviews

North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres – Sandra Morris – Walker Books Australia – Published 17 February 2021

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Synopsis

In the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, animals deal with changing seasons in various ways. Whichever hemisphere they live in, they need to be able to read the sign of the changing seasons to survive. This beautiful nonfiction picture book tells the tale of life for some of the planets most-loved animals and what they’re up to throughout the year. Each spread contrasts, month-by-month, some of the world’s most-loved Northern and Southern Hemisphere animals. North and South marks a beautiful and engaging introduction to the natural world and conservation for young readers, with in-depth facts throughout and a full index and glossary adding interest for older readers.

My thoughts

Beautifully illustrated, North & South introduces the concept of hemispheres and how this dictates our seasons. The book then displays a page for every month, one side for the Northern Hemisphere season and the other side of the page for the Southern Hemisphere. Each month features two animals, again one for the Northern Hemisphere and the other for the Southern Hemisphere. The book shares the similarities and the differences between the two animals that live across the world from each other. Conservation status, maps that show their locations and beautiful illustrations and endpapers bring these facts to life for young readers as they learn about the amazing creatures of the world.

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Book Review: Wait I’m Working With Who

Wait, I’m Working With Who?!? The Essential Guide To Dealing With Difficult Coworkers, Annoying Managers, and Other Toxic Personalities – Peter Economy – Career Press – Published 1 April 2021

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Synopsis

Who hasn’t had to deal with a jerk at work? Whether it’s a toxic team member who loves nothing more than to suck the life and excitement out of her colleagues, the difficult coworker who isn’t happy unless the office is filled with mayhem and drama, or a bad boss who causes his employees to constantly dream of telling him to “Take this job and shove it!”, we’ve all had to deal with people on the job we would rather not.

Wait, I’m Working with Who?!? is the essential guide to identifying and dealing with jerks at work, including bad bosses, troublemaking coworkers, lazy and time-sucking team members, and toxic people of all sorts. This book covers the negative impact that problematic coworkers have on the workplace—lost productivity, high turnover, a company culture of ambivalence or defeat—and catalogs 16 specific species. It then goes on to share detailed steps for dealing with these characters—whether you’re an employee or a manager. The information and strategies in these chapters will be immediately actionable and profoundly helpful.

My thoughts

Everyone has worked in teams and everyone has worked with or for a difficult person at some point in their life (and if not, then you are pretty lucky). Working with others takes a careful balance of skills and considering different personalities. I’ve read many books about working in teams or people management but few of them focus on the challenges and the really tough stuff of conflict management. If you too have noticed that gap or want a guide on how to handle that person you just don’t get or who is constantly negative or bringing you down at work, then this is the book for you.

Wait, I’m Working With Who? Starts with A Field Guide To Jerks At Work. It outlines both the impact of workers that the book labels as jerks and then lists the sixteen most common jerks you’ll encounter. It lists behaviours and traits you might recognise or things to be on the lookout for. I like that though this book is all about helping you work better with others, it doesn’t neglect the reader or their role in the workplace, encouraging you to reflect on your own behaviour and identify when your behaviour might slide into jerk territory.

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Book Review: Build Great Teams

Build Great Teams: How To Harness, Create and Be Part of a Powerful Team – American Library Association and Catherine Hakala-Ausperk – Simple Truths – Published 30 March 2021

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Synopsis

Teamwork matters. But how do you A) enlist a powerhouse team; B) develop successful teamwork skills; and C) turn a troubled team around?

In just one year (or 52-weeks), you can achieve your personal dream team through Catherine Hakala-Ausperk’s proven program. Organized into 52 modules—designed to cover a year of weekly sessions, but easily adaptable for any pace—Build Great Teams covers major management issues such as: success with recruiting, setting teammates up for success, good organizational communication skills, establishing an innovative team, and more!

My thoughts

Build Great Teams appears to be a re-release of the 2012 title Build a Great Team: One Year to Success. While I haven’t read that book, looking at the summary and contents page, the two seem to have very similar content and layout, with just a few updates and changes.

Build Great Teams is a very approachable book. It is set out as a guide you could use over a year to improve your team leading skills. Each week’s content is extremely short (most just a page and a half long, with very large text and a large stock image taking up most of the space). The text is also very readable. No research, stats or other details, this book is like a friend giving you a few tips to try out each week. I had read a whole month’s worth before realising that it was a month’s worth and not just one week.

While this book is something I could certainly see having time in my week to fit in, it didn’t have the depth of content I was looking for. Each week’s content is more a general suggestion of how a team might work best together or an example from another company. The learning is implied.

I think to get the most out of this book, I would need to use each chapter as merely a starting point and do some reflection or find some related activities to go with each chapter’s topic.  The marketing materials do mention the possibility of accompanying workbooks or resources, which I think would make this a far more practical resource.  Continue reading

Book Review: Escape at 10,000 Feet

Unsolved Case Files: Escape at 10,000 Feet: D.B. Cooper and the Missing Money – Tom Sullivan – Unsolved Case Files #1 – Balzer+Bray – Published 2 March 2021

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Synopsis

CASE NO. 001: NORJAK
NOVEMBER 24, 1971
PORTLAND, OREGON

2:00 P.M.
A man in his mid-forties, wearing a suit and overcoat, buys a ticket for Northwest Orient Airlines flight 305 bound for Seattle.

3:07 P.M.
The man presents his demands: $200,000 in cash and four parachutes. If the demands are not met, he threatens to detonate the explosive device in his briefcase.

So begins the astonishing true story of the man known as D.B. Cooper, and the only unsolved airplane hijacking case in the United States.

My thoughts

Can you solve the case? That is the premise for this new series. Escape at 10,000 Feet is a non-fiction graphic novel, that entices the reader to try their hand at solving a case that has stumped FBI investigators for years. It also introduces an interesting time in history and air travel.

This is perfect for budding young detectives. Those that love mystery novels or books on spies will love this true story about a heist at 10,000 feet and the man who got away with $200,000.

This is not a graphic novel in the traditional sense – no call outs, just panels that illustrate the story along with factual documents, FBI files, diagrams and information to help the reader piece together the facts. The graphics are bright and dramatic and the storytelling powerful through the use of the narration and carefully placed illustrations.

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Book Review: A Year Full of Celebrations and Festivals

 A Year Full of Celebrations and Festivals – Claire Grace and Christopher Corr (ill.) – Frances Lincoln Children’s Books – Published 5 January 2021 

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Synopsis

Countless different festivals are celebrated all over the world throughout the year. Some are national holidays, celebrated for religious and cultural reasons, or to mark an important date in history, while others are just for fun. Give thanks and tuck into a delicious meal with friends and family at Thanksgiving, get caught up in a messy tomato fight in Spain at La Tomatina, add a splash of color to your day at the Holi festival of colors and celebrate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

My thoughts

A Year Full of Celebrations and Festivals is a brightly coloured book about festivals and celebrations that happen around the world. This book overs a brief insight into the celebrations it features. There is a nice spread of festival types and celebrations from around the world.

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Book Review: True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News

True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News – Cindy L. Otis – Feiwel and Friends – Published July 28 2020

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Synopsis

A former CIA analyst unveils the true history of fake news and gives readers tips on how to avoid falling victim to it in this highly designed informative YA nonfiction title.

“Fake news” is a term you’ve probably heard a lot in the last few years, but it’s not a new phenomenon. From the ancient Egyptians to the French Revolution to Jack the Ripper and the founding fathers, fake news has been around as long as human civilization. But that doesn’t mean that we should just give up on the idea of finding the truth.

My thoughts

This title caught my eye as I was teaching our Year 7 classes a unit on Fake News. It is a perfectly timed and titled novel and it works as a perfect resource for our unit. The author, Cindy L. Otis is a former CIA analyst and that gives credit and interest to the book. She brings an interesting perspective to this mix of fake news history and skills and tips for identifying and responding to fake news.

I was thoroughly impressed by the writing style of this book. I thought I might flick through it, but I found myself engaged in the text and the way Otis weaves the story. Each chapter is compelling and told in an easy-to-read way. There are funny asides and the language used is as approachable to teens as it is to adults.

I’m happy to report that the examples and exercises used in the novel are not all USA focused. The book starts with an exploration of fake news through history, including tales of Jack the Ripper and Ancient Egyptians to monarchs, revolutions and wars. Then comes the introduction of telegraphs, radio, television, internet and social media. Each chapter shows how the changes in society and technology influenced and were influenced by fake news. Each part in the laying out of the history of fake news is given an interesting story and example of the impact of the fake news.

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